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Wifes Computer Slow

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April 8, 2010 3:14:26 PM

Hi,

I am new to this forum, but have been reading alot of the threads, this is a great forum!

My wife is needing a faster machine, hers slows down when viewing Youtube videos and running
her firefox and maybe 2 windows open.

She is on the computer alot, doing email stuff and some office programs for her business.

She has a Dell Dimension 2400 running XP. I have a Dell Inspiron 530 with a Intel Q6600 2.4 GHz. It
seems to work for her when she is using it, so I am thinking she does not need alot more than that.

Would this work for her as listed in recommended builds? This is about tops for my budget, maybe a little more.

Bargain: $533.73 - This socket is still a good bargain build CPU do to it's OC'ing Abilities (Thanks for the feedback... 4ryan6)


Thanks for any input.

Alan

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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 8, 2010 3:21:30 PM

I would first run some virus and malware scans. Clean up unused files to save some space. Also, try backing up the important files, reformating the HDD and reinstalling the OS. These steps should speed the computer up without having to build a new one.

If none of that works, or you just want a new machine, here's what you should build:

CPU: X4 630 $99
Mobo: MSI 785GM-E51 $70 after rebate
RAM: Crucial 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 $100
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case: Antec 200 $35 after rebate
PSU: Corsair 400W $35 after rebate
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $22
OS: Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM $100

Total: $516

I'm recommending the AM3 socket over the LGA775 because the LGA775 is a dead socket. There will be no upgrade path for it. It's extremely old technology, so you're locking yourself into a lower quality, lower performing, and shorter life build. Windows 7 was included because you have Dells. Unless you went out and bought the full retail version of Windows 7, Vista or XP you cannot use the OS discs you have now to install the new OS.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 8, 2010 3:42:11 PM

Aside from MadAdmiral's suggestions (good ones at that), we need more information. The Dell Dimension 2400 comes in a few different configurations. We need to know what processor is installed (either the Pentium 4 or Celeron Processor) and the amount of installed memory. Probably the easiest way to determine this is by running DXDiag (Start --> Run --> dxdiag)

Next, I'd contact Dell and get a bit of clarification. Their documentation for that system states maximum memory of 2GB, but the system only has two memory slots and can only take upto 512 MB ram modules???

Depending on your system's configuration (CPU and RAM installed), it may be just more memory is needed and you can upgrade for >$100. Otherwise, if the system is already maxed out, then you can consider MadAdmiral's build suggestion.

-Wolf sends
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April 8, 2010 4:02:32 PM

Thanks for the responses.

Okay, so far I have run Sophos , Spybot, and Malwarebytes. So far it seems clean, but if you can recommend anything else I would be glad to try that too.

Her computer is the Pentium 4, 2.66 Ghz with 1.25 GB of RAM. I just checked this.

I guess I should not say it runs REAL slow. It just seems more unresponsive than mine, and she likes to work on mine more.
I have Vista but have Window 7 I need to install.

The hard drive has quite a bit of room, more than half.

Thanks again,

Alan





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a b B Homebuilt system
April 8, 2010 4:46:03 PM

You can keep the PC and change just the mobo, CPU and RAM. Maybe a new PSU.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 8, 2010 4:48:31 PM

To be honest, I would just go ahead with a new build. There isn't much you can do to expand and upgrade a prebuilt. Once you change the CPU, mobo and RAM, you might as well be buying the rest new as well. HDDs are also a great way to improve speed, as a slow HDD is felt when trying to do anything.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 8, 2010 7:47:48 PM

Quote:
Okay, so far I have run Sophos , Spybot, and Malwarebytes. So far it seems clean, but if you can recommend anything else I would be glad to try that too


Try cleaning up your background processes.

Start --> Run --> MSConfig

Go to the Services Tab. Check the box at the bottom labeled, "Hide all Microsoft Services". Scroll through the list and see if there is anything there that doesn't need running (if you're not sure, leave it alone).

Go to the Startup Tab and again, check to see if there is anything there that doesn't need to be running all the time.

Use Control Panel --> Add/Remove Programs to uninstall anything that doesn't get used.

Download and Run RegCleaner to clean up your system's registry.

If you're running a clean system, you shouldn't need any more than the 1.25GB of RAM you currently have installed. If the system is still less than snappy in response time, then go ahead with the recommended upgrade.

-Wolf sends
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 8, 2010 10:49:11 PM

+1 for Wolfshadw and MadAdmiral.

@OP:
Like said above, I'd go for the new AM3 build MadA posted, it's well worth it.

If you don't mind spending a bit more, I recommend this Gigabyte board with USB3/SATA3: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And this card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Should work quite well, since she isn't gaming.

I admit, it is a bit more costly, but imo, it's more future proof also.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 2:40:16 AM

I doubt that you are cpu limited.

1) 1.25gb is pitiful. See if you can increase it to 3 or 4gb.

2) Upgrade the hard drive to a SSD. You can get an intel X25-V 40gb drive for $125, sometimes less. If you can comfortably hold all your stuff on 80gb, then go with that, otherwise use your existing hard drive for overflow and storage. The difference will be magical.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 2:51:34 AM

^ DUDE! The guy's wife has a P4! I'd upgrade the CPU,RAM,board,etc before getting a SSD!

1. DDR/DDR2 is overpriced/dead.

2. OP will get a better overall performance with a new CPU,etc than a SSD given the fact that the SSD will probably be bottle necked by the CPU,etc.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 2:55:33 AM

1.) 1.25 GB is pitiful for current PCs. This is not a current machine.

2.) Not only are SSDs a bad choice right now, but what geofelt is recommending results in the worst possible use for SSDs. You need to leave at least 20% of the drive free. After the OS, you've got 48 GB left for stuff. Not only that, but SSDs really suck at storing data. You should only use a SSD to store the OS and programs, as these items don't have to be rewritten very often, allowing the drive to run at its best and allowing the drive to last longer.
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April 9, 2010 3:20:59 AM

I really want to thank everyone for their suggestions-input. I think MadAdmirals build will fit the bill and more.

I will also take the other options into consideration as my budget will allow.

Since this will be my first build, I am sure I will be hanging around. It has been awhile since I have done anything
like this. Years ago in what seems like another life, or even another time, I was a bench tech for Heathkit Electronics.
There may be a few of you around that may even know what I'm talking about!

Anyway, they had electronic kits of all kinds. I built many of them: a vacumn tube volt meter, tri-output voltage supply,
oscilliscope and more test stuff, but what I really like building was audio equipment. Oh, and I did build a computer called
the H-89 computer.

So this I guess would be my second build. :) 
Just a little gap in between!

Again thanks for all the input.

Alan

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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 3:23:14 AM

alwhis said:

Her computer is the Pentium 4, 2.66 Ghz with 1.25 GB of RAM. I just checked this.

My workhorse system is (still) a 6 year old AMD XP2400+ (2 GHz real clock speed) with 512 MB of RAM. I am in the process of moving everything to an OC'd Intel quad system - but that's another story.

Your wife's system should still be adequate for things like web browsing and light office apps. If you are on a really tight budget, try cleaning the system of all the junk. Backup everything, wipe the hard drive, and reinstall what you need.

If you can afford it, it's time for a new system. Even a modern bottom end system will be much faster than what you have.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 6:08:29 AM

MadAdmiral said:
1.) 1.25 GB is pitiful for current PCs. This is not a current machine.

2.) Not only are SSDs a bad choice right now, but what geofelt is recommending results in the worst possible use for SSDs. You need to leave at least 20% of the drive free. After the OS, you've got 48 GB left for stuff. Not only that, but SSDs really suck at storing data. You should only use a SSD to store the OS and programs, as these items don't have to be rewritten very often, allowing the drive to run at its best and allowing the drive to last longer.


The current PC has a Q6600, a very good processor, and entirely adequate for web surfing and viewing video's.
Adding a 2gb stick of DDR2-667 ram would cost <$50 and probably solve all the performance issues.

I recently replaced a hard drive in a laptop with a Intel X25-V 40gb drive and the results were astounding! The OS took only 13gb of the 40gb(actually 37gb). It is unknown how much hard drive space is currently needed or used by the OP. For web activities, it is not much. Web surfing is actually a very good use for a SSD, since there are many small random reads and writes. A pattern at which the SSD excels.

If you add a SSD at $125 and ram at $50, I doubt that you can build or buy something as good at twice the price.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 12:10:53 PM

The Q6600 is not in the computer the OP is discussing. The computer that's having problems has a Pentium 4. There's a big difference there.

I'm not saying the SSD is going to be slow. I'm saying storing everything on the SSD is going to slow it down from what it could be doing and wear it out faster. For the $175 you're suggesting, a better use would be to buy a new CPU ($70), new board ($70) and new RAM ($55). That would make much more a difference than sticking in an overpriced part.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 2:51:25 PM

OOPS!! I misread the original post.

I agree that updating an old P4 system is not a great idea.

For a new build, can the OP dismantle the old PC and reuse some of the old parts?

Assuming that is the case, then you need only to change out the CPU, MOtherboard, and the ram.

Reuse your current OS product code which should be on your case somewhere. You may have to borrow an installation disk with a 64 bit version of the OS on it. Activation wiii probably require you to answer some questions from microsoft. Assure them that this OS is being used only on this single PC. If pressed, explain that the old motherboard has been replaced.

No doubt, windows-7 is a better OS, but is it worth the price difference?

I would still suggest an Intel X25-V 40gb SSD. It has a 3 year warranty, and the MTBF is 1,2000,000 hours at normal desktop activity, that is 135 years of 24/7 operation. It will be obsolete long before it wears out. The performance difference is magical.


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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 2:59:31 PM

Again, some bad information.

First, if you were to use older parts, you would be dooming the new build to be slower than it should be. For example, if you reuse the HDD, you'll have noticeable slower operation that could have been avoided by spending $55 bucks on a fast 500 GB platter drive.

Second, as the old machine is a Dell, you will not be able to LEGALLY reuse the OS code. It's an OEM version and not transferrable. A new motherboard means a new computer to the OS code.

Third, MTBF is just the simple average. It really means nothing with a standard deviation. Without the standard devaition, all you can say is that it has a 50% chance of lasting that long. Also, the MTBF decreases with the more constant use. So if you're only using the SSD to store everything, you're going to be constantly writting data. That will wear the drive out a lot faster, not to mention making it slower.

Also, considering that the OP wants a full build on a $530 budget, a $125 SSD is just not possible. That would leave $405 for the entire rest of the build. It's just not feasible.
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April 9, 2010 3:21:02 PM

Hi MadAdmiral,

I will be ordering from Newegg this weekend. I had bought a new
HD for my wifes computer.

Since I will not need to order that, what do you think of the other
posters recomendations as below. Do you see any advantage of the below.

Since I am not current on this, I will go with your suggestions.

Thanks for all your input,

Alan





Shadow703793

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


And this card: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-3463938-10521304?URL=htt...


niklas_13

http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-3463938-10521304?URL=htt...
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 3:29:27 PM

I really like the board mentioned by Shadow. However, you really don't need to spend extra for a GPU, and the board doesn't have onboard graphics, so you would have to get a video card.

The board niklas recommended is also a good board.

I'm going to throw in another suggestion: Asus M4A785TD-V EVO for $120. It's a little pricey, but it's also got USB 3/SATA III support, so if you ever get a faster HDD or some USB devices that use the faster standard, you'll be ready for them. This board can easily last on it's one for several years, while a board without USB3/SATA III may require adding an expansion card down the road.

Any of the choices listed here would be great though. So it's really up to you.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 3:40:50 PM

1) I have no idea what the old drive is, but there is not that much difference among 7200 rpm drives. No doubt a modern sata drive will be faster, but by how much, and is it worth it?

2) An oem license does not preclude you from replacing a defective motherboard.
If you can not find an exact replacement for such a motherboard, a substitute is allowed.
It also allows you to change from a 32 bit oem license to the equivalent 64 bit version.
That said, Windows-7 is a much better OS, and I certainly endorse such an upgrade.

3) The MTBF for a Seagate Barracuda 7200 drive is 700,000 hours. Compare to the SSD with no moving parts and 1,2000,000 hours. Failures can happen. That is why you need external backup. But, longevity of either device should not be an issue.

4) "The sweetness of the price is long forgotten when disappointment with the product appears"
With a strict $530 budget, you do the best that you can. But, consider spending a bit more for a SSD, the single best PC performance enhancement available today.
In the long run, it is better to get something better up front. If you have not experienced the difference a SSD makes to everyday work, you are missing something. If you don't believe me, go to newegg and read the user comments from actual purchasers of the Intel SSD's.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 9, 2010 4:01:06 PM

1.) The newer drives are a lot faster. The 500 GB platters make a huge difference. Just check out the benchmarks in the charts section for the differences.

2.) Yes, but this is not a replacement. This is an upgrade. Hence the "LEGALLY" part of the "you can't do it"...

3.) That may be so, but the SSDs don't count not being able to write as "failure". SSDs only have some many rewrites in them, after which you cannot write to them any more. You can still read the data that is there though. Thus, the reported time to failure is a lot higher than the typical user would consider failure because they're measuring a different criteria. So the higher MTBF is really skewed.
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April 9, 2010 4:03:12 PM

geofelt,

I will definitley consider an SSD once I get my piggy bank backup again.

To all posters, thanks and your input is appreciated and will be taken into
consideration in this build.

Thanks again.

Alan
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April 9, 2010 4:31:40 PM

Best answer selected by alwhis.
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